It seems that Disney studios continues to partake in a civil war between their two animation companies. Today Walt Disney Animation studios’ puts out another work entitled Zootopia, to attempt to add another Oscar worthy film to their ranks. With all the hype and build up, I looked forward to being entertained by another masterpiece from their studio. Yet the question “Is it worth the trip to theater?” may be ringing through your ears. So once again I’m going to give you my input and help you decide the answer to that question. Therefore…let’s get to it.
Like every Disney movie you can bet that the animation is excellent, and Zootopia is no exception. The cast of anthropomorphized animals fluidly moves about the screen in a human like manner as they live their lives throughout the fictional city, capturing the grace and dexterity of the homo sapiens they are modeled after. Even more impressive is seeing our animals in the primal state, as their anatomy is fully captured in spectacular detail.
But animation is only one part of the magic of Zootopia. The design of the world is amazing, a perfect blend of modernized civilization and animal ecosystems. Zootpia’s residential sections emphasize certain architectural styles that personify the particular mood of the area (e.g. Icy cold tundra as a front for the Mafia or the serene yet wild energy of the jungle villas.) All these details were brilliantly colored and shaded, bringing out the emotion of each scene, but still maintaining the whimsical nature of a Disney film. While I didn’t see the movie in 3-D, I can certainly see this beautiful world being further stunning.
While the design of the movie is enough to pull you into the theater let’s talk about the story and comedy of the movie next. Disney always has the quirky, unique ideas that manage to imprint on our minds and make us fall in love with it. For Zootopia that main story is a mystery centered on disappearing animals across the city. This mystery established the suspense of the story, keeping me intrigued throughout the tale as to how deep the “rabbit” hole went. The genius of the movie though is bringing two other stories into the fold and integrating them into the plot. These plots are character-developing moments that give our characters depth to latch onto. Much of these themes are tied to some big moral dilemmas that are very relevant today such as racism, feminism, and duty. And just like many of their movies, Zootopia takes at stab at teaching us how to properly handle these situations (shame on you Disney for teaching us!). Regardless whether you learn something or not, Zootopia is an emotionally deep tale that has many levels for all ages to enjoy and perhaps make you tear up in the process.
As for the comedy, Zootopia trades in the stupid for a more clever and cute approach. Fans of the DMV will get plenty of witty jabs at some modern trends that include obsession with phones, scamming the system, and plenty of TV references for the media obsessed. Well-timed one-liners and comedic delivery by our voice actors keeps the comedy fun and fresh and had me (and a few other audience members) laughing throughout the film. I didn’t notice many kids laughing throughout the movie, most likely due to the lack of the childish humor. Plus side, less repeating of quotes and sounds during the movie. Negative side, they might not be as interested in the movie. Regardless, I certainly enjoyed the writers’ wittiness in this film and the fun energy they injected with their comedy without diverging from the theme of the movie.
Now lets hit the weaknesses of the film. One thing I was disappointed with was how much of the movie I had seen from the trailers. Disney showed a lot of the funny parts numerous times and felt their effects had waned by then. In addition I felt some of the scenes were not as well done as the trailers had built them up to be, and kind of lackluster compared to the trailer counterparts (such as the naturalist scene). These moments felt unnecessary and barely relevant to the plot and could have been vamped up a bit. In addition I was hoping that the plot twist was a little better executed instead of dropping big hints to give it away. A few other minor complaints include: some overdone comedic ploys and some preachy moments that had me rolling my eyes.
Disney once again hits a home run with their animated films. The design of alone is impressive, but the movie is incredibly fun, clever, and has the energy you love. Sure it may not be a film that will keep your kids squealing in laughter, but Zootopia brings many aspects to the silver screen that I think all ages will love. I fully support going to see this movie in theaters and hope you will enjoy the film as much as I did.
My scores for Zootopia are:
Movie Overall: 8.0